Tom Dumoulin: ‘UAE Tour not just a training race for Giro d’Italia’

The Dutchman says the week-long stage race is a target for the team

Tom Dumoulin ahead of the 2019 UAE Tour (Photo by Justin Setterfield/Getty Images)
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Tom Dumoulin says he is not just racing in the Middle East as training for his return to the Giro d’Italia in spring, but has ambitions to add to his palmarès.

The Dutchman lines up at the inaugural UAE Tour on Sunday (February 24), where he says his Sunweb team are targeting overall victory.

While many Grand Tour contenders treat early-season stage races as preparation for bigger ambitions, Dumoulin and team-mate Wilco Kelderman will be looking take the top step.

Speaking ahead of the race, Dumoulin said: “It’s a WorldTour race, so it’s definitely not just a build up [to the Giro].

“It’s a race we’d like to win, or at least do well on GC.

“Normally at the first race of the season I’m good, then in the spring not so good.

“I’m expecting the same kind of rhythm from there.”

>>> Five things to look out for at the 2019 UAE Tour

Dumoulin also opened his 2018 season in the Middle East at the Abu Dhabi Tour, which has combined with the Dubai Tour to form the new week-long UAE race.

He finished third overall there, his best stage finish also third on the stage to Jebel Hafeet – a climb that will feature this year.

Dumoulin is set to ride both the Giro and the Tour de France this season, after a remarkably consistent double attempt last year.

He finished second in both races in 2018, falling just behind two Team Sky riders – Chris Froome in the Giro, and Geraint Thomas in the Tour.

The UAE Tour opens with a 16km team time trial - a discipline his Sunweb team are well drilled in, having finished second in the World Championship TTT last year.

>>> Mark Cavendish: ‘I’ll see what I can do in the sprints at UAE Tour, but we’re here for the GC’

Dumoulin added: “There’s always a question mark around how the shape will be, but I’m sure it will be alright.

“I did the Abu Dhabi Tour quite a few times but never the Dubai Tour. Now it’s combined, I’m excited.

“I’ve done really well in the past, last year maybe not so well but years before it was nice.

“We hope to win the GC with the team.

“We have Wilco Kelderman in really good shape here so we can play two cards.”

The UAE Tour finishes on Saturday (March 2), and features the TTT stage, three expected sprints, one for the puncheurs and two mountain finishes.

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Alex Ballinger

Alex Ballinger is editor of BikeBiz magazine, the leading publication for the UK cycle industry, and is the former digital news editor for After gaining experience in local newsrooms, national newspapers and in digital journalism, Alex found his calling in cycling, first as a reporter, then as news editor responsible for Cycling Weekly's online news output, and now as the editor of BikeBiz. Since pro cycling first captured his heart during the 2010 Tour de France (specifically the Contador-Schleck battle) Alex covered three Tours de France, multiple editions of the Tour of Britain, and the World Championships, while both writing and video presenting for Cycling Weekly. He also specialises in fitness writing, often throwing himself into the deep end to help readers improve their own power numbers.  Away from the desk, Alex can be found racing time trials, riding BMX and mountain bikes, or exploring off-road on his gravel bike. He’s also an avid gamer, and can usually be found buried in an eclectic selection of books.